Residents Hope for Answers From Water Contamination Hearings
With just hours to go before the first state hearings on water quality, Loreen Hackett is getting ready.
"I went through the New York State constitution all weekend," she said. "I read public health law from top to bottom."
Hackett is the same woman who created a Twitter account when she learned the water in her small community of Hoosick Falls was contaminated with the toxic chemical perfleurooctanoic acid, or PFOA.
"Clean drinking water is necessary for survival, and we shouldn't have to fight our state to get it," she said.
Tweet after tweet, she showed elected officials how much of the chemical found in non-stick pans was in residents' blood, asking them why it took to share their water could possibly lead to cancer, thyroid disease, or a number of health complications.
Tuesday, she'll get to meet with some of them face to face.
"Put yourself in my shoes," she asked. "What would you say if you finally get in front of the guy who has poisoned your kids? What do you say?"
The water quality hearings are the first of their kind since Hoosick Falls' Saint Gobain was held responsible for the pollution. In nearby Petersburgh, where Emily Marpe lives, it's Taconic Plastics.
"Right now, they're worried about PFOA," Marpe said. "I'm already past that. I'm worried about what they use now. Where's the regulations and the guidance for those levels?"
Both Marpe and Hackett have signed up to speak. Their question is: Will they actually be heard?
"Who's going to get up there and say 'I poisoned these people'?" Hackett asked. "I don't expect to hear that."
"None of us are comfortable in our own home, none of are comfortable in our own skin," Marpe said. "Our futures are unknown and it's scary."